Samovar Tea LoungeEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
If you told me five years ago that I’d intentionally buy something called Hibiscus Bliss, I would have said you were living in an alternate reality.
I am not sure exactly when I turned the corner on hibiscus. I used to think it was evil, and made everything it touched intolerably bitter. But somewhere along the line, I think during a very hot summer day when I desperately wanted something cold and flavored and happened to be in a Starbucks, I ordered whatever they had without caffeine that was iced, and it was a hibiscus drink. At that moment, I got religion.
Most of the time hibiscus doesn’t bother me now, and sometimes I even crave it. My taste buds have adapted, or changed, or something so that now the bitterness (if present) just tastes earthy, like a root vegetable.
This smells generically fruity in the bag. A little like grape, a little like cherry. There’s the characteristic hibiscus aroma, too. I can see the lemongrass, but I don’t really smell it.
After steeping, this is a dark, wine red and quite pretty. Steeped, it smells pretty much like it smelled unsteeped.
Flavor wise, it has a lot in common with other tropical blends that have hibiscus in them. I’m reminded of Tazo Passion and Teavana Caribbean Breeze both of which I like quite a bit, but both of which pale in comparison to the amazing complexity of this.
The hibiscus in this is not at all bitter. It may be that the pineapple and natural sweetness of the rooibos is counteracting any tendency in that direction. The flavor has a creamy vanilla overtone that is likely from the rooibos and otherwise has a gentle warm fruit punch aspect.
Somehow the master blenders at Samovar have managed to make something with lemongrass and licorice root not taste like either, but be reminiscent of both. Samovar’s blends always taste to me as though they’re made with very high quality ingredients, and this one is no exception.
A really awesome rooibos I will definitely restock as long as they make it available.
ETA: The licorice root comes out as the tea cools and then I start to like this less. Note to self: drink while hot. Cool, I’d give this more like an 85.
Flavors: Cherry, Citrus, Fruit Punch, Grapes, Hibiscus, Pineapple, Vanilla
The best straight chamomile I ever had was Samovar’s back when they offered a straight chamomile. Everything else I’ve had, even the good ones, haven’t matched theirs.
What made it so good? For me, it was the creamy texture and the sweetness, that made the flowers seem fresh. I’ve had way too many chamomiles that taste sour, and the drink tastes like a bunch of old potpourri flowers accidentally fell into hot water.
So I was pretty excited to give this a try.
In the packet, I smell mostly spearmint and a hint of citrus. There’s the slightest, creamy smell that I hope is the chamomile.
The steeped tea looks just like its picture, and it has a wonderful minty/lemony smell that is intermingled with a sweet chamomile, green apple-like aroma.
Its a very nice rendition of chamomile with just enough going on to keep it me from dwelling on the chamomile aspect. It’s all the good things I remember about their straight chamomile, but with added interest that makes it a very relaxing option.
I kind of like it better than Yellow and Blue, and I liked that better than the straight chamomile.
Flavors: Green Apple, Lemon, Spearmint
Mostly what I smell upon opening the bag is mint. Very, very strong peppermint. If there is sage, spearmint, and lavender in there, I can’t smell it.
This herbal is a deep golden color, verging on rose gold and is clear. The aroma is minty, but also somewhat earthy which is the sage, I think. In the flavor, the sage is there around the edges, too — not overly strong, which is good because it would have been too savory for me.
I am puzzled as to why this is named spearmint sage instead of peppermint sage, though. I taste more peppermint than spearmint, though the aftertaste is more spearmint.
Like virtually every Samovar blend, this has a lot of complexity, but doesn’t come across as busy. It’s definitely got more and better flavor than many mint blends I have had. The mint isn’t too herby, and it isn’t fake tasting — the other ingredients keep it from being that way.
This also has a very refreshing coolness in the mouth that Samovar describes as menthol. I’d say the feel is menthol, but I don’t get the medicinal Vapor Rub-ness I get from methol, which is pretty remarkable.
I’d definitely keep this around for as long as they blend it. It’s the best mint I’ve had since Refresh, and while I adore Refresh, you can definitely taste the quality in this. Refresh makes an excellent every day choice, but this is something special.
Flavors: Earth, Peppermint, Sage, Spearmint
The combination of a long weekend and a respite from the summer heat (it may be turning to fall, not that we really have fall — but we do have a cooler wind) made me excited to do some serious tea drinking this weekend. I could have waited until tomorrow to start, but I figured there was no time like the present.
When I started exercising regularly again, I initially tried to spice up my Peloton workouts with runs because that’s really my favorite form of exercise. But alas, my knees, and even my hips, have not weathered the aging process well, and I was pretty regularly finding myself too much in pain to run. Given that, I started taking a few supplements that are supposed to be good for reducing inflammation in the joints. One of those is turmeric.
Initially, I thought I saw a pretty significant improvement, though I’m not sure whether that’s attributable to the turmeric, the SAM-E, the fish oil, or a combination of all of them. I started taking a brand with peperine in it to help with absorption, but then I decided to try another preparation. Honestly, I think the peperine worked better so I’m probably going to go back to that.
But in any case, since I had turmeric on the brain when I did my last mega order of herbals, I decided to try this. The dry mix looks a little like a spice medley meant to use for cooking. I can see the lemongrass and orange peel. It’s all a rather orange/yellow/beige/khaki color scheme that’s attractive in its own right.
It steeps to a pretty intense golden yellow/orange color (just like the picture) that’s opaque. It smells a little like orange flavored dirt.
Fortunately, it doesn’t taste like dirt. But it’s not what I expected. I expected it to taste a little like Indian food spices, but that is not what I am getting. The licorice is fairly prominent, as is the citrus, with ginger in there somewhere. It’s an interesting flavor but not really something I’d drink for non-medicinal purposes. However, I would drink it for medicinal purposes without complaint.
And it could be so much worse in the hands of a lesser tea blender. I give it a solid 70.
I made this by the book except for the water temperature. I used 206F water because that’s what I had handy in the Zojirushi.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Licorice, Orange
Oh God, I have been transported.
Good solid strong black base, which reminds me of the Mighty Leaf black tea base for its fruity teas. Smooth with a teeny wee bit of smoke. And then, rose and spice and citrus. Just divine. Really.
If I began four mornings of my week with this tea, despite my tea obsession and outrageous tea collection, still, all would be right with my world. I steeped three times and would likely be able to steep another full flavoured good one. Each steep held up flavourfully well in my timolinos, despite the delicate flavours.
I received this as part of my monthly subscription for September (or is it part of October’s selection?) with Tea Sparrow. No regrets. Highly recommended.I am experimenting with tea subscriptions currently. What I really like about Tea Sparrow is that first, they are Canadian, so I don’t feel like I am getting gouged on the exchange and the shipping charges. Second, their selections from various tea blenders are awesome, high quality, and inspired. Third, their taster packages are far more generous than the other subscriptions that I am subscribing to, so you really do get a chance to dig into the teas rather than feeling that it is all just a ruse to nudge you into buying larger quantities. I do buy larger quantities anyway, of course.
Going through my tea backlog and reviewing stuff I’ve drunk since I had neglected Steepster for several months…
I was in San Francisco for one night only and I had dinner and tea with some friends at Samovar Tea Lounge, which was an adorable little cafe where we had the option of sitting on pillows at low tables or in chairs at a regular table. We opted for chairs though in hindsight, I would have loved to have sat on pillows. But then we would have had to share a table with others.
It was late so I didn’t want anything with caffeine. Most of the other herbal teas had ginger in them, which I try and avoid since I don’t like it. So cacao mint it was.
I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had the ability to try different steeping times and temperatures. I think the temperature was a bit too hot and/or it was steeped for too long since the mint turned bitter. I had to steal honey from an appetizer to sweeten the tea (no sugar provided) to try and cut the bitterness and bring out the other flavors.
This tea tastes thick to me, like it’s not flavored water anymore. If you look beyond that, it tastes pretty good. It tastes yellow, even though it’s not. It smells much more citrusy than it is. I did a series of very short steepings, probably thirty seconds or less.
Flavors: Citrus, Orange, Orange Zest
This is one of three teas I take something with: I put in about a teaspoon of strawberry jam. On its own, the smoky flavor is really overpowering. I’m the only one in my family who drinks it because they all complain that it smells awful. It doesn’t smell particularly fabulous, but it tastes good. I also let it steep for more than ten minutes, and it doesn’t turn bitter. I just sort of get it when I think about it.
I received this tea from MissB’s tea sale back in January. Thank you!
I had a bunch of this back when I received it, but it looks like I didn’t write a note. Tonight I believe I over leafed or over steeped. It was a bit on the sour side. I get a bit of cacao, mint and then a bit of lavender. Some nights I enjoy this tea, other nights it just doesn’t sit right. I am glad to have experienced this combination, but I am not sure I would consider buying again.
Drank this the other night, the lavender tasted peppery to me. I enjoyed it, it was definitely different, but I reached the conclusion that I would have liked it way more if it was just cacao mint. Which is why I plan to buy that flavor from Herbal Infusions at some point to try.
I’m not big on spicy/peppery teas, and for whatever reason the lavender overwhelmed my tastebuds to that extent.
So, nice to try, that’s it, goodbye!
Thanks for the sample, OMGsrsly! :)
I went to Samovar Tea Lounge at Yerba Buena Gardens today with Casey. It was really a great place, but I guess I will save my review of this venue for that other part of Steepster.
Casey ordered this tea. It was really nice. I think the redwood forest description was pretty accurate, but Casey said it was a stretch, and he grew up literally in a redwood forest. The earthy/mossy flavors blended nicely with the citrus blood orange, grapefruit, and ginger flavors. The only problem with this tea that was by the end of the pot, the citrus rinds had contributed an overwhelming amount of flavor. Overall, I was really impressed. I’m not usually that fond of the puerh and citrus combination.
Flavors: Earth, Orange Zest, Peat Moss
The only mint tea in my cupboard is now, sadly, gone.
I really really liked this one when I was in the mood for mint and didn’t have to worry about minting up my apartment (BFF is seriously allergic).
The mint, the lavender, the deliciousness. Mmm…
Perfect night time treat.
(Eee!!! 201! I’m almost below 200 teas!)
IDK why I love this tea so much, but I do. Even with the mint. It’s just SOOOO good. And lavender-y. :D
Sipping on it plain today, since I want the last of my milk for my morning tea. I’ve also baked a bajillion cookies tonight in preparation for decorating them like eyeballs for Halloween, and not having sugar in this tea is a nice accompaniment to the cookies that weren’t quite perfect. Yes, that’s right. They weren’t perfect and also I needed to test them. Yup.
Anyways, if you like mint and chocolate and don’t mind lavender, definitely check this one out. It’s expensive, and hard for me to get, and also my BFF is hideously allergic to it, so I won’t be getting more. But you should! :)
This is SO GOOD. Thank you, MissB!
It’s helping my breathing because of the mint, and the flavour is just divine. Especially with some honey.
This might be the only mint tea I ever want to keep stocked. It’s not the best for my tummy (mint makes me nauseous), but right now it’s amazing.
Flavors: Chocolate, Flowers
Hot damn. I love this.
That is something I never thought I’d say about a mint tea.
But this is superb.
I get mint-chocolate, with lavender. It smells in the order of chocolate-lavender-mint, though. The mint is SO fresh. I definitely have different taste buds from MissB, and I do love lavender.
I love the idea of this tea, and had wanted to try Samovar for a while. if I’d known however how much lavender was in this blend, I would have passed.
Brewed, this smells so strongly of lavender, it’s a bit cloying. If you like that sort of thing, this is probably your kind of tea. Me? I sipped hesitantly. One sip and I had to dump it. While I did taste the cacao and mint at the start of the sip, the lavender quickly took over and owned me.
It seems I really overleafed this one (1 tbsp for 8 oz, even though I swear that’s what it said on the package), however for the cost involved, I’d much rather just pass this along to someone who will enjoy it more.